our everyday life

What Can the Coast Guard Offer My Family?

by Maureen Malone

A career in the U.S. Coast Guard offers an opportunity to learn job skills, receive competitive pay and benefits, and serve your country either full time or part time. The decision to join the Coast Guard also affects your family as they will have to move frequently and live without you when you are deployed. Despite these sacrifices, your family will receive benefits and support from the Coast Guard.

Health Benefits

As a Coast Guard service member, your spouse and dependent children are eligible for affordable medical insurance through TRICARE. TRICARE offers three plans for active duty service members and their families: TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra. If you are in the Coast Guard Reserve, you and your family still may be eligible for coverage under the TRICARE Reserve Select plan.

Life Insurance

When you join the Coast Guard, you can get an up to $400,000 in life insurance with Service Member’s Group Life Insurance to help your beneficiaries in case of your death. Life insurance also is available for your family. Dependent children are automatically enrolled with a $10,000 policy. Your spouse is eligible for up to $100,000 in coverage.

Military ID Card

A military identification card gives your family access to several resources on military bases. This includes commissaries, exchange stores and recreational facilities. The commissary is a nonprofit grocery store. They sell food, including brand name items, at a price of only 5 percent over cost. Exchange stores are like department stores and offer a variety of goods including clothing and electronics. If you are in the Coast Guard Reserve, your family will not receive commissary privileges. Your spouse and children between the ages of 10 and 21 can get a military ID card. Children may keep their military ID until they are 23 if they are full-time college students.

Separation Allowances

If you are separated from your family for 30 days or more because your family is not authorized to travel with you, you will receive a family separation allowance in addition to your regular pay. This will help cover any additional expenses that result from your separation. As of 2013, you will receive $250 per month. Pay is prorated at a daily rate for periods of less than 30 days.

Family Support Resources

Transition and relocation managers are available to assist you and your family during moves. They provide resources and information about relocation, as well as oversee the Spouse Employment Assistance Program to help your spouse with resume writing, interview skills and other employment assistance. Family advocacy specialists work to prevent and intervene in cases of domestic violence. You and your family also can take advantage of the federal Employee Assistance Program. This program provides up to six free counseling sessions to help with things such as emotional issues, relationships and family problems and alcohol or drug use.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images